We are officially in the midst of rookie draft fever! It feels like a long time coming and then it’s all over in the blink of an eye. So I thought now would be a good time to take stock and identify some rookie draft bargains. These are players that you can get on the cheap either in your rookie drafts or via trade afterwards.
Travis Etienne – RB2 – 8th Overall
To lead off the rookie draft bargains we start with Travis Etienne. He is my RB2. So his presence on this list is less about his positional value and more about his overall value. Since 2017 there have been 6 Running Backs drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. In Superflex ADP they’ve gone:
Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB1 1st Overall
Josh Jacobs RB1 2nd Overall
Saquon Barkley RB1 1st Overall
Rashaad Penny RB3 3rd Overall
Sony Michel RB5 5th Overall
Leonard Fournette RB1 1st Overall
As you can see there has never been a 1st round Running Back fall out of the top 5 in ADP. Part of that is the value of the QB rising in recent years. However, It is still a shock that you’re getting a proven Stud running back joining his college QuarterBack with a proven offensive mind and you can get him toward the end of the 1st round in rookie drafts.
Elijah Moore – WR6 – 16th Overall
I’ve been very high on Moore throughout the entire offseason. He has an elite production profile, fantastic film and landed in a great landing spot in New York with a clear path to target volume. The only knock on Moore is his height. Although he is almost an identical physical profile to Tyler Lockett who has succeeded both inside and outside in the NFL, I’m not concerned.
Value-wise you’re able to land Elijah Moore in the 2nd round. It’s hard not to love the value. Particularly when he’s going in a similar ADP range to 4th round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown! In my rookie WR model which is a more predictive measure than pure draft capital Moore is a 90% percentile receiver. That’s the same ballpark as Andre Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Aiyuk! Not exactly terrible company to be considered in. An overall concern about Moore possibly being the Wide Receiver 5 for the jets is overblown. Moore projects to replace Jamison Crowder as the Y receiver. A move that could happen this offseason as the Jets could save $10m by moving on from the veteran receiver.
Kadarius Toney – WR8 – 20th Overall
Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of Toney. He was a non-factor in college until his senior season which is always a concern. The fact he didn’t declare for the NFL until his senior season means he would be an outlier should he hit. However, at some point, the value of an NFL first round pick takes over. Whilst the Giants were ridiculed in some circles for taking Toney with the 20th pick he was still the 4th wide receiver taken and even prior to the draft the mock draft database had him as a consensus first-rounder and 31st overall.
It’s a risk drafting Toney given his late breakout and his lack of a true production profile but in the middle of the 2nd round, it isn’t exactly a high price to take the risk. Toney is not a player I love but it’s hard to argue he’s not one of the rookie draft bargains.
Tutu Atwell – WR16 – 37th Overall
Shock. I added Tutu Atwell! Part of my process is to place a premium on value and not become obsessed with specific players. However, throughout this offseason and draft process, I have found myself becoming more and more a Tutu Stan! Prior to the draft, he was very high in my ranking given his outstanding production profile at Louisville and his ability to get open at will. However, I was fully expecting him to plummet when he didn’t get draft capital. I thought given his size concerns the NFL wouldn’t value him highly and he’d likely be a day 3 draft pick.
How wrong I was. The NFL or more specifically the Rams valued him just as highly as I did making him their first selection in the entire draft and the 57th Overall selection in the 2nd round. Given this draft capital investment, I am absolutely gobsmacked at his current ADP. As a 4th round pick, he is an incredible value. Yes, he is a physical outlier given his 149lbs frame but there are plenty of other size outliers in this draft including Devonta Smith, Rondale Moore and Elijah Moore. He is currently being drafted after several day three picks: Tylan Wallace, Rhamondre Stevenson, Brevin Jordan, and Elijah Mitchell. I understand not wanting to draft Tutu but at this discount how can you not take the risk!
Davis Mills – QB8 – 29th Overall
Davis Mills was a hot name leading up to the draft as someone who could sneak into round one possibly. That didn’t happen. Instead, Mills was taken with the first pick of the Houston Texans in the entire draft at the beginning of the 3rd round.
With his current value, I think his ADP is about right. A 3rd round pick on a QB that could never see the field is about right. What is shocking is that he is being drafted after both Mond and Trask who have clear starters in front of them and are even less likely to see the field.
With the Deshaun Watson news who knows what is going to happen in Houston. But, I do think it is telling that the Texans signed veteran Tyrod Taylor, traded for Ryan Finley, and then spent their very first draft pick on a QB. I think in the offseason the moves a team makes say a lot more about a team than what the GM/Head Coach is saying in the media. This screams Deshaun being on a different team come September.
Now the chances of Davis Mills being a reliable fantasy producer is probably less than 10% but him being the 8th QB off the board is egregious.
Do you disagree with any of my suggestions? Are there any Rookie draft bargains that I’ve missed?